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Orchid alert

Monday, December 2, 2013

Over the past week, we have noticed some disturbing signs in our orchid houses. The phragmepidiums and paphiopedilums have more yellowing leaves than usual, and the cattleyas and even the phalaenopsis orchids have some scale. Oncidiums and some cattleyas bulbs are showing some brown, soft tissue at the base signifying rot. This is the result of the weather, which has been rainy and humid while the light has turned the corner and become less intense winter light. Without good air circulation ...

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The right garden will draw painted buntings

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I will never forget the first time that I saw them. They were almost too colorful to be believed! My jaw dropped with amazement at the vision before me. Here was a small bird with an iridescent violet-blue head, green back and cherry-red chest and underbelly.

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This beguiling but invasive plant can kill

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A common invasive in the Southeast and across the tropics, rosary pea (Abrus precatorius) has been a pest in Florida for some time. It particularly likes to invade our rare pine rocklands, but it seems to be able to grow almost anywhere around the region.

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Fairchild's International Chocolate Festival

Monday, December 16, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Brooke LeMaireFairchild Tropical Botanic Gardenblemaire@fairchildgarden.org305-667-1651, ext. 3392 Freshly ground cacao beans at Fairchild's International Chocolate Festival FAIRCHILD'S INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE FESTIVALBRINGS THREE DAYS OF DELICIOUS TREATS TO SOUTH FLORIDA Coral Gables, FL, January 2, 2014 - The most delectable event of the year is back! Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's three-day 8th Annual International Chocolate...

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Fairchild's GardenMusic Festival Brings Chamber Music to Life

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Lisa PalleyPalley Promoteslpalley@bellsouth.net305-642-3132 Media contact: Brooke LeMaireFairchild Tropical Botanic Gardenblemaire@fairchildgarden.org305-667-1651, ext. 3392 FAIRCHILD'S GARDENMUSIC FESTIVAL BRINGS CHAMBER MUSIC TO LIFE Coral Gables, FL, December 16, 2013 - Set amongst the natural beauty of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the chamber music ensemble Sixth Floor Trio takes up residence from January 9 - 19, 2014 for the...

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A Rare Bird— La Sagra's Flycatcher

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I had an impromptu bird walk yesterday. After reading about a rare vagrant bird being spotted at nearby Matheson Hammock Park, I thought about going to look for it, since it was reported to be close to the Fairchild visitor center. It's a rather small, plain looking bird, the La Sagra's flycatcher (Myiarchus sagrae), but one sought after by birders since it is rarely seen in South Florida, usually content to stay put in its native Cuba, Bahamas, and Grand Cayman. I was doubting my...

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Of seedpods and seabirds

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An amazing number of seedpods onthis clump of Oeceoclades maculataorchids growing in oak leaves. Oeceoclades maculata, a terrestrial orchid found in shady forests along the northern Kwa-Zulu Natal coast of South Africa, made itself at home in Florida about 4 decades ago. It loves to appear in mulch, in leaf litter beneath oak trees and in shade. As I was cleaning up the garden for the holidays, I found a nice clump with more than 30 seedpods. It has steadily moved north from South Florida ...

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How to Attract Painted Buntings to Your Yard

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I will never forget the first time that I saw them. They were almost too colorful to be believed! My jaw dropped with amazement in the vision before me. Here was a small bird with an iridescent violet-blue head, green back and cherry-red chest and under belly. I was watching a male Painted Bunting at a feeder at the edge of Castellow Hammock. There were other males and also some similar-sized birds that were a muted, soothing green. I later learned that these were called greenies and ...

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Caring for holiday gift plants

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday plants are a common gift or token of appreciation for party hosts this time of year. A colorful foil-wrapped pot with a perfect poinsettia in bloom is classically holiday in spirit. But like so many other gift plants — bromeliads, orchids, tiny Norfolk pines — they tend to sit ignored, only to die and be discarded.

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A David Fairchild collected plant is something to see!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One of my personal favorite trees is currently flowering in Fairchild. It is Pittosporum moluccanum. Our tree was grown from seeds which were originally collected in 1940 by Dr. David Fairchild on Tagapulo Island, Samar Sea in the Philippines. Our tree, now 73 years old, is less than 20 feet tall. The clusters of small white flowers perfume the surrounding area. If you would like to see this plant, just walk on the tram road a little south of the overlook wall. Your ...

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For your 2014 to-do list

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Boats killed fewer manatees this year than last. That's the good news. The bad: more than 800 of Florida's manatees died in 2013, a record number. Everywhere, the environmental news is grim. And yes, governments, corporations, etc., must make the big fixes, but it's time all of us did our part. So here are five New Year's resolutions you may wish to jot down. *Learn to turn off your irrigation system after rain. Where I live (Coconut Grove), home sprinklers run no matter...

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